Escaping the Violence

The first step to getting out of an abusive relationship is realizing that the relationship is toxic.
When an individual is in a relationship with someone, they tend to focus on the good things, making it difficult for an individual to notice the abuse. A bystander may realize that the relationship is toxic when the abused individual in the relationship fails to realize it.
Friends and family members are essential to helping someone overcome an abusive relationship. Do not be afraid to mention if something appears to be unhealthy, as the person in the relationship may be overlooking the violence or disregarding it to save the relationship.
As an individual in the relationship, keeping a present mindset rather than focusing on the past may help to fully understand the extent of the violence.
“I finally got out of the relationship after one too many trips to the emergency room,” victim Sil Lai wrote to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH). “Trips that finally broke through my denial about the true nature of the man I “loved,” our relationship, and especially myself.”
Understand that people change and people can be masters at putting on a display for bystanders. Although an individual may seem kind, calm, and collected towards the beginning of the relationship or around friends and family members, within a couple of months or when they are alone, they may be violent and aggressive.
“He was tall, blonde, blue eyes, all-American with a smooth demeanor and a knack for saying the right things,” victim Emily wrote to the NDVH.
The quicker an individual can get out of the relationship, the better. Make the first noticeable sign clear to the victim and begin to think of the most successful plan for the situation.
“The longer a person stays in an unhealthy relationship, the more habitual it can become where a person no longer has the confidence to leave or continues to accept partners that do not respect his or her well-being,” counseling director Andrea Brown said.
If possible, the victim should always have a phone on them in case of an emergency. Get into the habit of backing a vehicle into the driveway and always keeping it fueled.
Although keeping weapons for self-protection may sound like a good idea, having weapons accessible are just as accessible to the victim as they are to the attacker. Keep any form of weapon hidden and in a safe place.
In many cases, telling the abusive individual that there is a plan to leave causes more harm. The attacker will find a way to manipulate the person into staying in the relationship, or harm them until they have no choice but to stay.
“I went home knowing that I would divorce him and that I had a flight back to the U.S. in three days,” victim Francesca wrote to the NDVH. “I laid down to take a nap and did not wake until four days later.”
Create plausible reasons for the attacker to not be suspicious of the victim leaving at any time.
Friends and family are the easiest and fastest way to get out of an abusive relationship. Make the situation clear to them, find someone who will be willing to provide a home, and gather as many close people necessary to pack everything and move before the abusive individual figures out what is going on.
If friends and family are not an option, there are many people who can help. If the situation is extreme, contact the police.
There is little chance that an individual can make it out of an abusive relationship. 4 out of 5 deaths during a violent relationship occur when one person tries to leave.
“I finally got out of the relationship in September of my sophomore year after he raped me,” senior Heather Cleaver said.
Document any evidence that can be held against the attacker, whether it be photographs of bruises, audio recordings of threats, or diary entries. Anything can help to hold against the individual during a trial.
Domestic violence cases are difficult to take to trial due to lack of evidence against the attacker.
Once the victim has a plan, they need to be sure that they have their personal records and legal information on hand. This includes all forms of identification, all legal papers, any personal information about friends and family members, and any items that cannot be parted with.
Leaving behind any personal information could make it easier to be found by the attacker in the future. It also gives the attacker the option to steal the victims identity.
“If leaving an unhealthy relationship poses danger to an adolescent, he or she should seek out help from counselors, parents, and other trusted adults,” Brown said.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24 hours a day at or call 1−800−799−7233.